Can I File a Motorcycle Accident Claim in Oregon If I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet?

Motorcycle helmets save lives. In fact, the state of Oregon requires that all motorcyclists wear a DOT-approved helmet in order to remain legal on the roadway. However, what happens if a motorcyclist sustains severe injuries in a motorcycle crash caused by another driver but they were not wearing a helmet? Can a motorcyclist still receive compensation for their injuries and other losses?

Here, we want to examine whether or not a motorcyclist can file a claim if they were not wearing a helmet when a crash occurred.

Oregon’s Motorcycle Helmet Laws

When you look at Oregon’s law, you will see that all motorcyclists in this state are required to wear a helmet. This includes all riders and passengers on the motorcycle. The helmet must be US DOT-approved.

Recovering Compensation if You Weren’t Wearing a Helmet

If a motorcyclist sustains an injury in an accident caused by the actions of another driver, but they were not wearing a helmet at the time the incident occurred, they can still recover compensation for their losses. However, there are circumstances where the compensation may be reduced due to the non-use of a helmet.

The reality is that the failure to wear a helmet does not cause an accident. We bring that up to say that the other party’s insurance carrier may try to deny the claim based on the fact that a person was not wearing a helmet when the accident occurred. However, the non-use of a helmet does change the fact that an at-fault driver caused the crash. Even though a motorcyclist may not have been wearing a helmet at the time the accident occurred, any injury they sustained would not have occurred, in theory, if the at-fault driver had not caused the crash in the first place.

Yes, motorcycle helmets can save lives and reduce the risk of head trauma and brain injuries. However, they do not prevent all types of injuries, and they do not even guarantee the prevention of head trauma and brain injuries.

These cases will have to be examined and investigated just like any other vehicle accident claim. If another driver caused a motorcyclist’s injuries, then their insurance should be responsible for covering the damages. However, the motorcyclist may receive reduced compensation if a jury finds that the non-use of a helmet did contribute to some of their injuries. Oregon is a “modified comparative negligence” state, which means that individuals can recover compensation for their injuries so long as they are 51% or less at fault for the incident. However, they may receive reduced compensation based on their percentage of fault. In these cases, a motorcyclist could be found to have contributed to their injuries because they were not wearing a helmet.

For injuries like broken bones or road rash that would not have been prevented by a helmet, the non-use of a helmet will likely not matter. However, a jury could find that a person’s head injury may not have happened had they been wearing their helmet. In this circumstance, a jury could reduce the total compensation a person receives, but they likely would not prevent them from recovering compensation at all.

File Your Claim

If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver in the state of Oregon, reach out to a Portland motorcycle accident attorney immediately. Even if you were not wearing a helmet, you should still be able to recover compensation for your losses.